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Beautiful Santorini, Greece, in the sunshine with blue skies

How do you choose a holiday?

Holidays are expensive outlays and we don’t get to go on many of them, so we go to great lengths to make sure the ones we choose will give us the kind of experiences we are hoping for. We want them to be memorable for all the right reasons.

In the past, we used to visit a travel agent who would work with us to tailor a trip based on our preferences.

However, thanks to the internet, the power of information has shifted, and we can now assemble our own trips online. We can choose our own flights, hotels, ground transportation, meal packages and days out. But with all the given variables, this means there are literally millions of possible combinations we could assemble into a holiday, and if we want to have the perfect trip, it raises the pressure on us to choose well. That’s when simplifications, shortcuts and decision tools come in handy for us.

Let’s imagine you wish to book a holiday. How do you choose where you want to go, which airline you travel with and what you want to do when you get there?

Which factors influence you when choosing the trip you want to take? Which sources of information do you use?

  • Price
  • Star rating of hotel
  • Direct flight from an airport near you
  • Word of mouth from a friend
  • Experience of a previous visit
  • From a trusted source - such as a well-known holiday website or travel company
  • Your past experience with an airline
  • The predicted weather
  • Photographs of the resort, rooms, pool, or nearby town
  • TripAdvisor (or similar) reviews about the place you are thinking of staying

You might not think of it in this way, but all the steps we take when planning for a big purchase, like a holiday, are examples of us seeking certainty – so we know what we are going to get.

A couple of questions… Would you consider staying in a resort where you hadn’t seen any pictures? Do you read reviews? (Do you continue to read reviews of the place you are staying after you have booked your trip? Or at that point do you not want to know if there is anything negative?)

Let’s step up the ante a little. Having a bad experience on holiday is an expensive way not to have fun, but we can probably book another one next year. But what about those decisions that are rarer, and where the stakes are far higher? How do you choose your next job? Or your next home? How do you choose where your child attends school? How do they choose their university and the degree they want to do? How do you choose where you want to have your hip replacement operation carried out?

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